Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has launched its Icon Partner program designed to protect the legacy and provenance of the famed Argyle Pink Diamonds.
Rio Tinto retained and managed the Argyle Pink Diamonds name following the closure of the Argyle mine in 2020, and has continued to work with its exclusive distribution network to manage and protect the provenance of the brand.
The program has also created a certification service and trading platform called Beyond Rare for special sales events and a number of strategic collections and collaborations involving existing inventory and the secondary market.
According to Sinead Kaufman, chief executive of Rio Tinto Minerals, “This is the start of a new chapter for Argyle Pink Diamonds, to ensure they maintain their value and investment potential as a finite, unrepeatable natural resource and achieve the status of outstanding heritage diamonds.”
She added, “Rio Tinto is proud to continue to manage the legacy of this uniquely Western Australian product and I pay tribute to the unrivalled craftsmanship and deep engagement of all our customers and partners who have been, and continue to be instrumental in creating the global phenomenon that is Argyle Pink Diamonds.”
International jewellers John Calleija and John Glajz have been licensed as Icon Partner and granted exclusive rights to develop the remaining Argyle pinks into jewellery and limited edition pieces.
Australian jeweller John Calleija, who owns luxury jewellery brand Calleija, has worked with Argyle pink diamond pieces for the past 30 years.
“I am enormously proud to work with Rio Tinto,” he said, noting that he is “looking forward to continuing to create works of art and wearable treasures for our clients around the globe that are worthy of the brand’s heritage diamond status.”
Singapore-based John Glajz, who owns Glajz THG and also creates Argyle pink diamond jewellery, said he is “delighted to be appointed as Icon Partner and continue a long association with the Argyle Pink Diamonds brand.”
Most famous among pink diamonds
As previously reported by Jeweller, Rio Tinto estimated that Argyle pink diamond prices have appreciated by 500 per cent over the past 20 years; overall pink prices rose 116 per cent between 2009 and 2019, according to the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF).
Owner Rio Tinto permanently closed the source of more than 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds, the Argyle Mine in the Kimberley region, after more than 30 years of operation.
Over the period of operation, the mine produced more than 865 million carats of rough diamonds and is the world’s largest producer of natural fancy colour diamonds.
The famous annual Argyle Tender of colour diamonds began with a 33-stone viewing in Antwerp in 1984, and has since evolved into a staple of the diamond-buying calendar that captivates industry figures and consumers alike.
End of an era: Argyle Mine officially closed
From birth to timeless legacy: The complete story of Argyle pink diamonds
World-first Argyle pink diamond trading platform launched
Final Argyle Tender diamonds unveiled; most stones since 2012